The results of the cavalry battles of the Old World. H. 5
We will not consider in detail the organizational development of the Russian cavalry during the First World War - devoting one of the nearest articles to this. We are interested in evolution itself - rather, even the tendencies of the latter.
By the beginning of World War I, Russia had 123 cavalry, Cossack, and equestrian-foreign regiments and three divisions. Having scattered numerous cavalry at the beginning of the war on the entire vast front from the Baltic to the Dniester and the Caucasian Front, the Russian command gave almost all the cavalry (in the form of separate divisions) to the armies. The cavalry arrangement of the cavalry along the German-Austrian border did not correspond to the general idea of offensives on the Galician and East Prussian fronts. On the eve of the war, this peculiar equestrian cordon was historical a relic - after all, such a deployment of cavalry was a reaction to the task of a massive invasion of cavalry into areas of mobilization and concentration of the enemy - in order to confuse the enemy with cards in the unfolding strategic game. In the future, for various reasons, the Stavka abandoned the idea of a massive invasion, confining itself only to setting goals for certain cavalry divisions to destroy sections of railway lines on enemy territory. Thus, the cordon arrangement of the cavalry remained a form devoid of its previous content.
The deployment plan indicates the absence of an idea of applying massated horse mass, aimed at the most important operational areas. The spread of Russian cavalry on the front from the Baltic to the Dnieper was the main reason that during this (most responsible) period of maneuvering war, the role of the Russian cavalry did not manifest itself with the clarity that could be expected with such superiority in cavalry over the enemy. But if the original plan was based on the idea of a complete defeat of the Austrian army and, accordingly, if 3 - 4 cavalry corps (10 - 12 cavalry divisions) were concentrated on the left flank of the Southwestern Front, which was favored by the area and the infrastructure of the theater), such powerful cavalry masses played a huge role during the Galich-Lviv operation.
Errors in the deployment of the Russian cavalry (recall the famous phrase of Moltke the Elder that errors in the initial deployment are extremely difficult to correct during the entire campaign) also affected further operations — and, despite its large number, the cavalry did not have enough at the right moment in all key operations. The lack of cavalry was felt in September 1914 - during the pursuit of the defeated Austrian army after the Battle of Galicia, in October 1914 during the pursuit of the defeated Warsaw-Ivangorod operation of the German 9-th army. Russians from everywhere picked up cavalry to throw it into the area of Shavli-Kovno - when 1915 German cavalry divisions, supported by infantry formations, were thrown there in the spring of 3. The same situation was repeated in September of 1915 - when the German cavalcourse of O. von Garnier from the 4's cavalry division, occupying Art. Sventsyany, rushed to the area of art. Molodechno and Deep. The Russians at this point in this sector were quantitatively inferior to the German cavalry, since they had their own scattered on a huge front, and not concentrated in large masses on the most important directions.
At the end of 1915, when the Russian troops, coming out of the "Polish bag", entrenched themselves on the natural strategic front, a positional war began. During this period of hostilities, the Russian cavalry was partially retracted, and partly together with the infantry (in rotation) occupied the sectors of the front. Cavalry rifle units appeared to replace the infantry.
The evolution that had to be experienced during the war of the Western cavalry took place in our country, retaining, however, its specific features - stemming primarily from the specifics of the extensive and (mostly) flat theater.
Although the positional period had an impact, causing doubts in views on the role and importance of cavalry among the higher command, the view on the need to increase the firepower of the cavalry took root tightly.
The active operations of the positional period of the war were expressed in the form of a breakthrough of the enemy front - and the result of the breakthrough could be exploited only during the quick subsequent strike of a powerful cavalry mass. But, unfortunately, the idea of using cavalry as a mobile reserve in the course of a positional war was not adequately manifested - and at the right moment, with successful breakthroughs during the 1916 and 1917 attacks. there was no mighty cavalry reserve acting with the necessary force in the right place. Although the relevant projects were available. In particular, in the winter of 1916 - 1917, when the General Headquarters discussed the prospects for the Allied and Russian armies to launch a joint offensive in the spring of 1917, General Headquarters Headquarters Chief Officer General M. Alekseev realized the acute need for a massive cavalry reserve in light of the upcoming large-scale active operations. The need arose from the specifics of the vast and flat Russian theater of war, moreover, it was rather poorly rugged by railways. It became clear that the strategic conditions of the Russian theater had changed very little since 1812, supplemented only by a rare railway network. And MV Alekseev often recalled Napoleon's cavalry reserve - 4 cavalry corps, formed by the emperor in 1812 - before the invasion of the Russian plain and united in the hands of a talented cavalry commander I. Murat.
The development of a plan for the general advance of the Entente armies anticipated in the spring of 1917 led to the appearance in the Headquarters of a project for the use of cavalry masses as a mobile reserve. The principle of the so-called. “4 lines” (or echelons): 1st line - regular cavalry, moving ahead in contact with the enemy, provided with powerful artillery, aviation and automobile units (with this line there was the head of the cavalry masses with headquarters - other lines were subordinate to them); 2nd line - mounted or riding infantry, it moves behind the 1st line as direct support; 3rd line - infantry transported (on horses or carts) (moving behind the 2nd line as its support); 4th line - rifle units - support for mobile (transported) infantry. An interesting project was not destined to be realized - the coup that erupted in 1917 prevented the Allied alleged general offensive from being carried out.
During the Civil War also failed to avoid fluctuations of views on the role of the cavalry of the Red Army. In the initial period, the organizations of the Red Army decided that the cavalry as a branch of service had the last word - proceeding to the formation of mainly divisional cavalry for the calculation of one 4-squadron regiment for a rifle division. Army cavalry, it was decided to have only 2 divisions.
The formation of cavalry is not easy. It required the availability of suitable conditions: appropriate horses, trained human staffing, experienced command personnel. At the same time, the majority of the Cossacks found themselves in the camp of the Whites, and the former cavalrymen of the non-Cossack element found themselves in large numbers in the south of Russia - Ukraine (areas of the former South-West Font), and were cut off by the Germans from the center of Russia. The steppes of the south-east and south of Russia, rich in horses, also ended up outside the young Republic. The cavalry of the Red Army, born in such difficult conditions, was, moreover, to immediately enter into battle with the strong cavalry of the enemy.
It is not surprising that at first the formation of the cavalry of the Red Army advanced slowly. Waiting for people, horses, weapons and equipment of the cavalry division "withered" in the rear, while at the front in fierce battles with the powerful cavalry of the opponent, the red infantry, beating the latter, suffered heavy losses.
The absence of an army (strategic) cavalry was already evident in the first year of the Civil War - in 1918. Sprayed and weak divisional cavalry could not solve serious problems. And the front command began independently to divide the divisional cavalry into larger units (brigades), and also to form cavalry units.
Thus, the army cavalry was born at the front, while the cavalry divisions formed in the rear continued to "turn sour" - until they were thrown to the front in an undeformed state.
Year of hostilities, hard and heavy fighting became the best school for cavalry. She received her commanders. Already at the beginning of 1919, S. M. Budyonny and V. M. Primakov were nominated - talented commanders who successfully managed large cavalry masses in a vast theater of war.
In the summer - in the autumn of 1919, when the forces of the All-Soviet Union of Armed Forces launched a decisive offensive, pushing the red armies to the north, the cavalry raid of K.K. Mamontov, affecting the reds, became a new stage in the development of the red cavalry - convincingly proving the need to increase the cavalry of the Red Army.
With the local military enlistment offices throughout the country began the accelerated formation of cavalry. Squadrons and regiments came together, boiling down into larger units, or sent to the front as reinforcements. Equestrian combat became one of the most effective forms of cavalry combat use. Already in the fields near Voronezh, the cavalry of the Red Army struck the first powerful blow to the white cavalry, and then rushed to the Kuban and the Don.
Then she moved to the Polish theater.
1-I Cavalry Army, making a thousand-kilometer march and concentrating in the area of Uman, 25. 05. 1920 received an order, which placed on it the main shock task - by attacking Kazatin to destroy the enemy, seizing his material part.
The breakthrough of 1 of the Polish Cavalry Front at Skvira (02. 06. 1920) was the beginning of the defeat of the Polish army by the troops of the South-Western Front. The Poles, squeezed by the Western and Southwestern fronts, began to roll back - trying to linger on wooded and wooded-swampy defensive positions.
Winning heavy battles on the rugged terrain of the Dubno-Rovno region, bravely unclasping infantry mites, sustaining air strikes, the red cavalry did a great deal of operational work, having appeared under the walls of Lviv.
In the same period, another large equestrian mass, commanded by GD Guy, made a deep strategic scope — bypassing the left flank of the Polish front. The old Russian fortresses of Osovets and Grodno became trophies of the red cavalry soldiers who completed the march on the banks of the Vistula.
The Soviet-Polish war demonstrated how large cavalry formations and formations operating on the enemy’s flank and rear can influence the course of the operation.
Thus, summing up, we note that the evolution of the French, German and Russian (red) cavalry went in different ways. The Franco-German cavalry followed the path of numerical reduction and a serious increase in firepower. The Western cavalry, which at the start of World War I was a mobile force intended for cold weaponsBy the end of the war, she became the owner of powerful fire weapons - so, by the power of the fire, the French Cavalry Division by the end of the war (in its composition, as we noted earlier, there was a pedestrian regiment and an armored squadron) could be compared to an infantry division. Like the infantry, the French cavalry is a compound operating primarily through fire, but moving and maneuvering like traditional cavalry. The French cavalry remained cavalry only when moving and maneuvering, becoming a battle in the infantry.
Red cavalry, realizing the traditions of the Russian, laid down the path of increasing not only the firepower and strength, but also the path of full preservation of cavalry qualities - continuing to act in battle not only on foot, but also in equestrian ranks.
A huge influence on the military work of the cavalry of the Red Army in the Civil War was its unification into large masses (cavalry armies and corps) - in the hands of young and energetic military leaders, as well as its use in key operational areas. Favored by the success of the red cavalry and features a vast flathead theater. If even in the presence of massive armies, moving into each other during World War I, the East European theater of war was favorable for the operational activities of cavalry, then in the context of the Civil war with relatively small armies, this theater simply required strong cavalry as an important tool for achieving success. And, more than ever, the maneuver re-entered its rights. Bypassing the flanks and going to the rear of the enemy, the cavalry becomes a kind of troops not only contributing to success, but also often seeking the latter on their own. It was the cavalry that became the hammer that breached the enemy front. The breakthroughs of the red cavalry at Kastornaya and Kupyansk (1919) and in Skvira (1920) brought its leader SM Budyonny in the foreign literature to the reputation of “Red Murat” and “Soviet Mackensen”.
Finally, a big role in the successes of the red cavalry was played by the saturation of its firepower - artillery, machine guns, armored cars and airplanes. The cavalry acquired tremendous striking power — which the cavalry did not know in previous wars. And everything happened with exactly the opposite - the technique did not undermine the power of the cavalry, but became an excellent means - by multiplying the combat power of cavalry.
- Oleynikov Alexey
- The results of the cavalry battles of the Old World. H. 4
The results of the cavalry battles of the Old World. H. 3
The results of the cavalry battles of the Old World. H. 2
The results of the cavalry battles of the Old World. H. 1
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